The US on Wednesday announced a $150 hike in fees for processing student visa, up from the current $200 to $350, marking a 75% rise that will make US education even costlier for applicants and hopefuls, many of whom come from India.The new fees, which apply to F (academic) and M (non-academic, vocational) visa categories of students go into effect on June 24 , US citizenship and immigration services said. Fees will go up also for other services under the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) such as exchange visitors under J category and SEVP-certified schools for processing applications and site inspections.
For some J visas the fee goes from $180 to $220; and the SEVP school certification petition fee rises from $1,700 to $3000.
India is the second biggest source of international students for US colleges and universities, at 196,271 or 17% of 1.09 million in 2017-2018, second only to China which topped with 363,341, according to Open Doors, a resource on international students and scholars studying or teaching at higher education institutions.
“SEVP is funded entirely by fees, and does not receive any appropriated funding from Congress,” said Rachel Canty, SEVP programme director. “SEVP’s fees have not changed since 2008, although our costs have continued to grow due to inflation, expanded programme operations and enhancements to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.”